Mid-Summer Catch-Up

Well, I say ‘mid-summer’ because this post is dedicated to what we’ve been doing lately. And since I haven’t posted much at all this summer, the start of the post basically treks back to mid-summer. Sad, isn’t it?

To start, my father turned 80 years old. And because this was such a monumental birthday, it seemed like the celebration never ended! We went for Japanese food for his Chinese calendar birthday to start which was, at that time and to his knowledge, the only thing HE had planned. But then…

birthday roasted pigWe surprised him for his western calendar birthday with a whole roasted pig…

rogers cupSent him to watch the men’s Rogers Cup (he’s a big fan of tennis and has always wanted to see the men’s tournament where he’s seen the women’s more than once)…

surprise birthday partyHad another party where a nephew and brother flew from the states to surprised him at a restaurant (he thought he was just meeting up with his Toronto sister for dim sum – she arranged for the surprise)…

blue jays gameblue jay's gameAnd finally, as another birthday present, we all went to watch a Blue Jay’s baseball game with him! I think his birthday celebration spanned over at least one month. :)

CN TowerWe actually haven’t done all that much in the city, though. The downtown trip to The Dome was about the only city-thing we did all summer. Which is too bad – It’s been such a long time since I’ve taken a week off just to have fun in my own city.

Two separate events, however, did have us exploring just outside of Toronto…

Cheltenham BadlandsThe Cheltenham Badlands was quite the sight to see and it’s amazing this natural development just appears at the side of the road in Caledon. This was just part of the trip while we did do an hour hike along the Bruce Trail which wrapped itself around The Badlands.

What made me sad was seeing all the people climbing down in this delicate area. The website states that it is very sensitive to erosion and visitors should remain on the flat surface at the very top. Sadly, most people are not aware of this piece of information (well, some probably also do not care) as the sign they have on location is very poor with no educational value at all. Unless people were to visit the website (which is just an association trying to perserve it), they probably do not understand the nature of this place.

Oakville JazzfestI know the Toronto Jazzfest is a big thing every year and I’ll be honest in that I’ve never been. But last year, thanks to Ada and Hoa, we discovered Oakville’s own Jazz Festival. Every year for a weekend, they would shut down their main downtown strip and welcome pedestrians to walk up and down, enjoying live performances and food vendors. We went back this year and it was a beautiful night. We also grabbed a table on a patio across a live performance while we had some drinks and late-night snacks.

Hobbes the dogAnd in other news, Hobbes has been very good at guarding our house from backyard critters. Because you know, they are so dangerous!

Camping at Sharbot Lake – July 2014

I’ve been a bad wife and a bad mother. I’ve been working so hard and focused so much on my new projects at work (both exciting and stressful at the same time) that I wanted to do a stay-cation and work part time from home. Mind you, I did plan on making sure we did fun things during the day but I figured I would still wake up at the same time every morning, head to the gym while everyone slept so I could join them for breakfast or brunch when they woke. Then we would do something fun in the city (or just outside the city). Work would have been when we got home before dinner and after dinner. Or after breakfast if we were having a late start of the day.

But my husband put a stop to this mad way of thinking. He asked what the point of a vacation was if I wasn’t really going to take a true break from work? Yes, he had a point. This is a special year though as we re-build and re-brand ourselves in so many ways. Being the new marketing manager makes me pretty much accountable for all of this.

And so, he convinced me to go camping for a few days. There’s no WIFI during camping and therefore, no way for me to connect.

Now, I do have my Asana app which links me to my team. Any updates on our projects would be notified to me through this app. Yet my boss, the VP, gave me orders to not do any work or think about work. He must have told this to the rest of the team because I received no notifications until Sunday, the day before heading back to the office.

Anyway, we found ourselves at Sharbot Lake, thankful we were able to get a great site since we were going mid-week. It was so beautiful and we definitely plan to head back there again.

Sharbot LakeWe spent one day hiking the Discovery Trail. While only just over 2 km which is nothing compared to the usual distance we hike now, the terrain was on the more rugged side which I love! It also walked us through several different types of scenery and landscapes. Chaeli noted that this made the whole hike much more interesting as we got to see many things.

Sharbot Lake camping - toadWe encountered a lot of different wildlife – all small types, though. The first morning, Doug nearly stepped on a toad just outside our trailer. I picked it up and gave it over to Chaeli to release in the woods. Hobbes got a chance to sniff (and lick) it. I am guessing toads give off a bitter taste as part of their defense mechanism because Hobbes backed up quickly and shook his head vigorously in disgust.

Hobbes encountered many squirrels and chipmunks – including one that came running across our campsite. It probably did not see Hobbes or maybe it was on a suicide mission because Hobbes, waiting for the right moment, pounced without a sound and intersected the poor squirrel. The squirrel was unharmed but did get flipped into the air before it scurried away and ran up a tree – making a lot of noise along the way!

trailer campingChaeli was wiped every night we were there. Not only did we remain fairly active, but she also would join the neighbouring kids for a game of soccer or tag whenever they gathered in the big field behind our camp site. It was an ideal spot for us because she was constantly in our view.

camping foodcamping foodI always tell people – just because we’re camping doesn’t mean we have to rely on just hot dogs and canned food. And because of my diabetes, I have to remain healthy even while vacationing, camping or not.

Luckily, we have an electric cooler and we were staying at a hydro site. This made packing mixed spring greens easier, as well as other veggies. I prepared all the veggies before leaving though – I cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers, cauliflower and broccoli then threwg them into Ziplock bags the day before we left. This allowed also for easy snacking access for healthier food options.

And nothing compares to a thick, juicy steak that’s grilled over an open flame.

Sharbot Lake fishingWe spent one afternoon canoeing and fishing. But none of us had even a nibble. It was pathetic.

The next day, just for a last attempt, Doug took Chaeli to the unused campsite across from us which was next to the lake. They just stayed on shore to cast their line in. While Doug caught some very small fish he released right away, Chaeli snagged this 2lb Large Mouth Bass with just her dinky Mickey Mouse rod we bought for her from Canadian Tire of all places!

Sharbot Lake canoeingIt was a great vacation. We arrived home Friday afternoon which still gave me a couple of days for a mini-stay-cation to round up my week off. I managed not to log on my laptop for at least two days after we made it home but did check email Sunday late afternoon (I knew I would have a lot of emails and just wanted to start filtering out all the junk and reading some important emails).

ten books no. 4 (new years 2014 resolutions)

[on-going documentation of new year’s 2014 resolutions - sub-section under ten books]

blankets by craig thompsonAs busy as I have been, I’ve actually gotten to my fourth book of my ten books resolution. Judging that it’s August as of tomorrow, though, it still means I’m behind. But I won’t let that stop me from trying.

This lovely graphic novel (for adult reading as it touches on some pretty gritty subject matters) sucked me in to the mind of the author as he transcribes his childhood, youth and adolescent years through poetic writing and incredible illustrations.

Throughout the entire book, I would say that dark contrasts with light, evil with good, beauty with ugly. Symbolism of this contrasting relationship is seen throughout his writing. It’s both beautiful and sad as the author is clouded by such darkness. There is, however, moments of joy and purity, though always threatening to be just at arms length.

Morning Hugs

In the morning, when it’s me who has to wake up Chaeli for the day, I always try to wake her up with a hug.

She’s not too far off from what I’m like in the morning. I do have the discipline of waking up early but I do it my own way. If some one wakes me up, they better tread lightly?

This morning, when I sat next to her on her bed and gave a soft, singing, “Good mooooorniiiing…” she replied back with eyes closed, “Morning hug… I like my morning hugs.” And so as usual she slowly sat up and we embraced each other, giving her a chance to adjust herself to having to get up.

She then whispered, “I love you, mommy.”

I think that was better than a cup of coffee.